During the last few months IfJ has been very busy with outreach work and meeting our aims and objectives as a charity of raising public awareness about the role of the intermediary. We have given presentations to the Youth Liaison & Diversion Clinical Network. There was little knowledge of our work and it was an excellent opportunity to raise awareness.
The Prison Reform Trust invited Catherine O'Neill, on behalf of IfJ, to present a pre-dinner speech about intermediary work to a group of interested delegates from around the world. This was an Open Society Foundation funded project spanning over several days. The visitors in the group had a wide array of experiences of working with vulnerable people, ranging from a representative from Israel who works as an intermediary; another from Nairobi who is developing the role; two delegates from Mexico; and others from Spain, US and South Africa. There was also a young man present with autism (Asperger syndrome) who had direct experience of being a defendant. We had fascinating discussions, comparing and contrasting experiences. There was expressed surprise that the role here is not statutory for defendants. The Mexican delegates informed us that help was weighted more for defendants, as it was felt they had more at stake. It was a unique experience.
IfJ members Paula Backen and Brendon O'Mahomey presented an indepth presentation to the group later in the visit. Sussex Police invited IfJ to present at their Domestic Abuse Seminar, talking about Trauma and its effect on Communication. There was a large group of 250 police officers present, including first responder uniformed police who found our work to be highly relevant. We gave another similar presentation to students on The Well Being Practioners Diploma at University of East London.
Finally, during these busy months, we attended a round table discussion at the Houses of Parliament. This was arranged by MOJ to speak with MP Lucy Frazer. Various charities connected with vulnerability were invited to give opinions about digitalisation i.e the potential use of online forms regarding charges in the Justice System. Again, various concerns were raised about access to the digital world for vulnerable people. IfJ members have so much collective knowledge to share in this type of discussion. We will continue to spread the word on behalf of our dedicated members.